Leadership Characteristic 6: Influential and Persuasive
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16: 13-15
Lydia influenced her family to be baptized. She persuaded Paul and his team come stay at her home. These were characteristics that she needed in her profession. She cultivated them well in her secular roles, then in her family, and later with Paul and a community of believers.
We touched on this in an earlier blog post, but in the Jewish culture of Lydia’s time, she would normally have had to ask the man in her life for permission to make such a bold invitation. We don’t know if Lydia had a man, was spiritually single, divorced or was a widow. What we know is that she used her power of persuasion to do good things.
Lydia was an influencer. She used persuasion. Our culture does not nurture persuasion as a virtue. More now than ever, we see a lack of compromise on so many issues that we are practically suffering from post traumatic stress disorder just from culture wars! Politics, gender, faith and age are all lightning rods today. We Christians can be the worst of persuasive people! We have received the best deal going, and often we can’t get beyond our religion to listen, understand and effectively persuade someone to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ or consider another point of view. We must learn to listen, influence and persuade.
One of the definitions Webster uses for persuasion is: “an opinion held with complete assurance.”
Do you know what you hold in complete assurance? Can you convey that to another in love when you are called upon? We cannot afford to bluff. We cannot afford to abdicate our family leadership or even wait till hubby comes along. Our kids are watching. Our husbands are watching. Our social circles are watching.
Just in case it is not obvious to you, spiritual leaders are not necessarily church ladies. We often run in secular circles with others who may not have the courage to step inside a church and ask a professional a spiritual question. In those instances, we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ, always on duty in the gray places where darkness bumps into light. Be prepared to persuade.
How do you cultivate your powers of influence and persuasion for your kids in those teachable moments? Your husband in those conversations where God enters the discussion? Your friends or family in those circumstances where only prayer will help?
Thank you for joining me in this series about spiritual leadership of the home. If you found help you could use, please pass it on to others. Sometimes, people don’t realize they are leading until someone recognizes their ability. Please bless someone who needs to know they are are a leader!